We've got a CPU Price Guide for you this week, and with the recent launch of AMD's AM2 platform there have been quite a few changes. For the first time since the days of socket A, AMD has a unified platform for their budget, mainstream, and high-end processors. Assuming everything goes as planned, you should be able to purchase any AM2 motherboard right now and you will have the option of running everything from the lowly Sempron 64 up through dual core Athlon X2 processors. What's more, AMD should be launching additional CPU designs for the platform later this year, and in 2007 we should see the first quad core processors for the platform. That makes socket AM2 a platform with potentially the most longevity we have seen to date, hopefully following on the success of the socket 754 platform. Socket 939 is of course still doing well, but AMD's roadmaps indicate that socket 754 will actually outlive socket 939 now.

The Intel side of things is not quite so clear, in part because we're still waiting for the launch of the Core 2 Duo processors and platform. From what we saw at Computex 2006, many motherboard makers should be able to run Core 2 Duo processors on current Intel chipsets -- we saw everything from 865/875 through 915, 945, and of course the official 965/975 running the upcoming processors. It appears that the only requirements are proper voltage regulation modules (VRMs) and a BIOS that works with Core 2 Duo. Unfortunately, as we have seen in the past, Intel sanctioned support (at least on Intel chipsets) of Core 2 Duo may be limited to the 965 and 975 chipset families. We will have to wait another month or so for the official launch to find out how things pan out in terms of motherboard/chipset support.

All this talk of chipsets and motherboards is starting to muddy the waters, as this is supposed to be a CPU Price Guide. However, it is virtually impossible to talk about processors without at least giving a quick overview of the various chipsets and platforms that run them. We will be providing a Motherboard Price Guide in the near future to cover the other half of this equation, but for now let's talk about processors.

As with all of our Price Guides, we will be providing prices from our Real-Time Pricing Engine. Our price engine team does their best to keep on top of the currently available products, and you can find prices on everything from CPUs, RAM, and graphics cards to hard drives, motherboards, and LCDs from vendors that we consider to be reputable. Of course, we're always looking for ways to improve, so if you have any suggestions feel free to send them our way. Due to the sheer number of processors available, we won't be covering every single option in this article. The price tables are already long enough as it is, so we will try to focus on the most frequently purchased parts. However, if you're looking for an older processor or something a bit more esoteric, chances are you can find it in the RTPE.

AMD Dual Core/High-End CPUs
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  • Calin - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    The only reason you could have to buy an Sempron (AM2) over an Athlon would be the lower power use (35W TDP for the new Semprons compared to the 65W TDP of the Athlons64 AM2 (or 89W of the X2 versions).
    Could there be an evaluation of the difference in power use between the same frequency Sempron and Athlon64 processors? Thanks
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    The low power Semprons aren't available yet, nor are the low power Athlons at the current time. Currently shipping Semprons and Athlons are all 65W TDP.

    Looking at the recent price lists, I'd make a bet that all the single-core Athlon64's are going away before long, with the possible exception of the highest performing parts. It's the same logic that applies to the 1Mb cache parts: single-core A64's cost AMD more to make than Semprons, yet AMD can't really charge more money for them because of their convoluted model numbering system.


    Having an Athlon64 3000+ that is clocked the same but has 4x the cache as a Sempron 3400+ just makes a mess of things.
    Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    Well they are :)

    AFAIK pretty much any 90nm Sempron(doesn't matter which socket) is in the 20W-35W power consumption range.
    Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    I saw on offers Sempron (AM2) processors with TDP of 35W, compared to the Athlon64 (AM2 versions) with TDP of 65W and the dual cores (again AM2) with 89W TDP.
    I suppose the low voltage versions are not here yet, but the power rating in offers still remains
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    You will also be able to get low power X2 and Athlon 64 chips in the near future. I will see about testing an Athlon 64 3000+ (AM2) compared to the Sempron 3400+ (AM2). My experience in the past is that AMD's TDP power numbers have been extremely conservative, so I would be surprised if Sempron chips are more than 5 Watts lower. That might matter for notebooks/laptops, but for desktops 5 W is basically meaningless -- you're looking at $5 (or less) for power costs over the course of an entire year, assuming the system is running 24/7/365. Reply
  • Calin - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    Thank you very much Reply
  • SonicIce - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    I can't belive how cheap single core Athlon 64's have gotten. This is a very good thing! Hopefully dual cores will fall soon. Reply
  • jelifah - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    That's what Jarred was trying to say in his article when he said 'if you can wait a month'

    July 24th AMD is expected to slash prices by around 50%. And yes that includes the pretty little X2 3800+, which should be available for $150. Now the only question is how quick NewEgg can ship them on that day, because I WILL place an order at that price.

    I'm actually going to be paying LESS for a dual core than I paid for my socket 939 3000+ single core 18 months ago.
    Reply
  • ChronoReverse - Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - link

    I'll be watching prices very carefully in the upcoming months. Right now I'm still undecided as to getting an used s939 3800+, a new AM2 3800+ or getting the $160 Conroe.

    Great times ahead now that there's competition again.
    Reply
  • Rebel44 - Monday, June 19, 2006 - link

    Yeah they will - I´m just waiting for release of new Intel´s procesors because AMD announced to lower prices of X-2´s by up to 50%:-) Reply

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